The immense turn that both England spinners Adil Rashid and Moeen Ali got in the first innings made many believe that Bangladesh’s score of 277 would be quite difficult for the visitors to overcome.
Many reckoned that with four spinners in the Bangladesh side, it would have been an advantage. However, as time progressed, Mashrafe realised that the pacers would have to take the initiative if Bangladesh were to have any chance of winning the third and series deciding ODI.
While the pacers did bowl well, eventually the lack of turn from the wicket hurt the hosts as England completed a four-wicket victory to seal the series 2-1. It was a factor that Mashrafe brought up following the match at the Zahur Ahmed Chowdhury Stadium in Chittagong on Wednesday.
“Honestly speaking, I have no complaints or regrets with regards to this match. Yes there were some phases in the game, which we couldn’t utilise properly. But otherwise, the wicket was a bit unplayable at certain points in the first innings,” said Mashrafe.
“On today’s wicket, the bowlers weren’t getting any turn towards the end because of the dew and so, we had to use our pacers. The amount of dew that was there on the ground, had it been even half that, even then we could have been more difficult for them. But today it was very difficult for our spinners to bowl here. It had become very easy for them [England] because of the dew,” he added.
Mashrafe compared this wicket to the one that was laid down for the game against South Africa in 2015. Bangladesh batted second in that game and ended up racing to victory by nine wickets and 14 overs to spare.
“If you remember the South Africa game, we were getting turn and when they went out to bat, they weren’t. I am not taking anything away from England. Congratulations to them. But we were a bit unlucky because the spinners were not getting turn,” said Mashrafe.
“During the break, 277 seemed a lot judging by the turn that Moeen and Rashid were getting. This could have been a perfect game for us had the dew not been there,” he added.
We had the best conditions for our spinners: Stokes
England all-rounder Ben Stokes, who was named the player of the series, concurred with Mashrafe’s opinion after the match. When asked if the difference in the wickets in the two innings played an important factor in the match, he said: “Yeah I mean if you look at how much Adil and Moeen got the ball to turn, I think it did. It sort of played into our hands, winning the toss and bowling first.
“Right from the second game we knew that the ball would come nicely on the dew. A leg-spinner like Adil, he is obviously going to get a kind of turn on any wicket. If you look back, we got the best conditions to bowl our spinners in,” said Stokes.
England skipper Jos Buttler said that the team had studied the behaviour of the wicket in the last few matches and knew that it would be an advantage for them to bat second.
“We were here during the T20 World Cup and we knew that it would be easier for us to bat second. Obviously some weather around as well; if the
game shortened it would have been an advantage to bat second. In the T20 world cup there was a lot of dew and the ball skidded a lot. We knew the ball would skid on and it would be easier to bat in the second. Luckily, we won the toss today,” said Buttler.
Regardless of the wicket, Bangladesh put in a late charge towards the end with their pacers scalping crucial wickets and putting the visitors under pressure.
In the fourth ball of the 47th over, with 21 required off 21, Chris Woakes was dropped at first slip. Taskin bowled a chest-high delivery and Imrul Kayes spilt an easy catch. It was a moment that effectively put an end to Bangladesh’s chances.
While Mashrafe did not consider that as a turning point, he did feel that things could have been different had Imrul taken that catch.
“Actually, you never know. Cricket is a funny game. If he had taken that catch, the situation would have been different. The last ball of that over went for a four. So that wouldn’t have happened and the pressure would have been a lot more on Stokes,” said Mashrafe.